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iSCSI target for Windows Server 2008?

Hi,

I just setup 9 VMs on our main Windows 2008 server (Hyper-V) and need some way for the VMs to access the files on a directly attached RAID array as local drives. From my research it sounds like a SAN is the only option. Is this correct? Will this provide the functionality I require?

If so, and I do need a SAN, then can you make a recommendation on a free iSCSI target for Windows Server 2008 x64? I've already seen RocketDivision and others but for the full iSCSI features I need they are all $1000 USD or over.

Is there a feature in Windows Server that I'm missing that can do this? I'm using Windows Server 2008 x64 Standard. I know Windows Storage Server has iSCSI target - again, am I missing something?

Thanks in advance!
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Pugglewuggle
Asked:
Pugglewuggle
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5 Solutions
 
bhanukir7Commented:
Hi

you can certainly use openfiler which is a free OS which runs on top of Linux 2.6 kernel and supports iSCSI,FC, NFS.
you can download the same from here.

http://www.openfiler.com/community/download/

for you VMs to be able to access this iSCSI target your VMs should be able to connect to it through iSCSI initiator. So you would need to configure your VMs network settings as public rather than internal or private.

But i would see a lot of network activity involved in this kind of configuration as iSCSI would be using your NICs. so would suggest to have a pair of NICs dedicated on your Hyper-v server for the iSCSI part and also on the VMs configure them with two NICs and map them to the iSCSI enabled NIC.

bhanu
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PugglewuggleAuthor Commented:
The raid array is directly attached to the Hyper-V server... I'm not using Linux. Nothing for Windows? I know the initiator is in 2003 and 2008, but I need a target, to, well, target!
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Henrik JohanssonSystems engineerCommented:
No Windows Server version except of Windows Storage Server has iSCSI target native, so you nead to find a 3rd party solution.

Not tested, but a cheaper solutions than StarWind: http://www.iscsicake.com/
It's propably as usual that Linux-based software is free, but Windows-based cost license money...
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bhanukir7Commented:
hi puggle,

well if you want to get a iSCSI targe that you run out of luck for free solutions. And especially with iSCSI and so many VMs i think i would not personally recommend using some iSCSI software just because it is free as iSCSI itself is not yet very robust and not much of R&D happenning on the Free option.

so i would either go for a Free Linux variat which runs a free iSCSI target and have my VMs on that.

bhanu
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PugglewuggleAuthor Commented:
Why does MS do this... I hate their stupid licensing crap. Why wouldn't they just put this in regular Windows Server?! No, you have to buy "Storage Server". I, for one, am sick of being raped by their ridiculous enterprise licensing schemes.
As for Linux, we have to relocate the RAID array to another machine (which isn't an option).
Thank you for your help so far.
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PugglewuggleAuthor Commented:
I know. Grrr... MS sometimes... >:-(
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bhanukir7Commented:
Hi,

I think i forgot to add that there is a way out, there is a  free iscsi target software available. Check this link.

http://www.nimbusdata.com/products/mysan.php

but the problem that we might run into is that this iSCSI target software is designed for win 2003. But you can certainly try this out.

bhanu
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PugglewuggleAuthor Commented:
Yeah, I've actually tried that already. It doesn't work on 2008. I ran across it almost a year ago. I don't know if they're ever going to get it out of RC. It's been that way since I first saw it.
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bhanukir7Commented:
so this kind of brings the options available to only paid iSCSI target softwares as going for a windows storage server does not in any way serve the purpose.

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PugglewuggleAuthor Commented:
Indeed. Correct me if I'm wrong - WSS is only for a stand alone server acting as a NAS device? WSS is NOT a software package that can be installed over a regular Windows Server installation (like ISA)?
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OriNetworksCommented:
"Indeed. Correct me if I'm wrong - WSS is only for a stand alone server acting as a NAS device? WSS is NOT a software package that can be installed over a regular Windows Server installation (like ISA)?"

Correct windows storage server is a version of OS. but from my understanding there is Microsofts iSCSI target that can be sold through OEMs such as HP.

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PugglewuggleAuthor Commented:
I've heard the same thing, but the only way to get it is to actually buy a server... yuck. Any idea if that's right or not? We build our own servers because we can customize them exactly how we want them.
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Henrik JohanssonSystems engineerCommented:
OEM licensing is tied to hardware, so it's true that you nead to buy the server.
See link for OEM release announcement: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2006/apr06/04-04SNWPR.mspx
MS Storage Partners: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/storage/partners.mspx
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bhanukir7Commented:
hi puggle

any updates for us

bhanu
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PugglewuggleAuthor Commented:
Well, all of the viable (aka full featured) options like Starwind are way to expensive to be economical for a small SAN deployment such as this. Unfortunately, the only way to access files on a local drive with Hyper-V (or any virtualization platform for that matter) is to use a SAN. I wish MS would make something like an integrated SAN in Hyper-V (or at least provide an iSCSI target in regular Windows Server instead of having to buy WSS.
Is there anything else you can think of?
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bhanukir7Commented:
we have hit a road block because of the iSCSI target not available on windows other than paid versions. so please close this question as we seem to be have not free option nor a MS option if not for a storage server.

bhanu
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OriNetworksCommented:
Maybe i'm missing some information but whats wrong with simpl sharing the files from the hyper-v host and then mapping a drive inside the virtual machines? Why do you need iSCSI?
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Henrik JohanssonSystems engineerCommented:
Even if not what you expected, you have got answer for the question about iSCSI target possibility and it should be closed by accepting answer instead of deleting it.
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PugglewuggleAuthor Commented:
@Ori
We need iSCSI because the guest VM needs see the files as if they're on a physical HD directly attached the the VM - not as a share.
@henjoh
I asked for free iSCSI targets if there are any (And there aren't). I'm not being a pain - I just didn't get a "solution" to the problem.
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Henrik JohanssonSystems engineerCommented:
No is also a valid answer...

You also asked if there's a feature for iSCSI target in standard edition of Windows Server, and the answer to that is no. You nead to buy Windows Storage Server to get native support for iSCSI target, which can be sold through OEM.
If you don't look to strict on having Windows as OS for hosting iSCSI target, an alterative solution is Linux based solutions like Openfiler (web based GUI for configuration).
Suggest split http:#22861216, http:#22860575, http:#22891782, http:#22897916
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PugglewuggleAuthor Commented:
I suppose you're right. :-P Just figured I'd close it as bhanukir said.
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